The Campus Kitchen at Augsburg College (CKAC) is one of 10 Campus Kitchens in the country that utilizes surplus food from dining operations to provide meals to our less fortunate neighbors. The mission of The Campus Kitchens Project is to use service and food as a tool to:
- Strengthen Bodies by using existing resources to meet hunger and nutritional needs in our communities;
- Empower Minds by providing leadership and service learning opportunities to college students, and educational benefits to adults, seniors, children, and families in need; and
- Build Communities by fostering a new generation of community-minded adults through resourceful and mutually beneficial partnerships among students, social service agencies, businesses and universities.
CKAC enhances that core mission by a pronounced commitment to sourcing as much food as possible from local and organic sources and teaching clients and volunteers about the importance and health benefits of supporting local agriculture. CKAC firmly believes that community development and neighborhood empowerment must be rooted in healthy food options for everyone regardless of income or socioeconomic standing. To that end, CKAC has developed a number of partnerships and programs to highlight ecological stewardship and environmental justice:
- Gleaning Project: CKAC has a new partnership with the Mill City Farmer’s Market. Extra produce is donated to CKAC directly from farmers selling at the market, which is then distributed for free by CKAC at Cedar-Riverside.
- Ploughshare Farm: Each growing season, CKAC receives organic produce from this family farm in Parker’s Prairie, MN. To find out more about how this partnership began, see the article in the Fall 2006 issue of Augsburg NOW.
- Project CHOICES (Community Health Originates in Creating Environmental Sustainability): Using local, organic food resources, CKAC implements a summer nutrition curriculum with neighborhood youth at the Bryan Coyle Community Center. The program teaches youth about the importance of choosing health for their bodies and the earth through the food they eat. The youth learn how to prepare fresh produce and are given exposure to fruits and vegetables they may have never seen before.
- Community Garden: Created in 2007, the community garden augments the nutrition education of Project CHOICES by involving neighborhood youth in the cultivation of their own vegetables. Youth learn the importance of soil heath, composting, and the full cycle of food while being treated to some tasty meals.
- Waste Reduction: From January to September 2014, CKAC has recovered 12,133 lbs of food, served 9,789 meals and they’ve grown 10,880 lbs of fresh produce. Despite the vast amount of food coming and going from the kitchen, they’ve managed to have almost zero waste this year.
For more information about the Campus Kitchens Project, visit www.campuskitchens.org.